What Are The Advantages Of Yaw Control System?

A yaw control system is a critical component of modern wind turbines that is responsible for adjusting the orientation of the nacelle and rotor to align with the direction of the wind. In order to generate maximum power output and operate efficiently, wind turbines need to face directly into the wind as the direction changes over time. The yaw control system uses a wind vane and other sensors to continuously measure the wind direction, then actuates motors and drives to rotate the nacelle as necessary to track the changing wind. This allows the turbine blades to capture the maximum amount of wind energy at all times.

Without an effective yaw control system, wind turbines would be unable to optimize their power production as wind shifts occur. Misaligned turbines suffer from reduced efficiency, uneven wear and tear, and high structural stresses on key components. The yaw control system gives wind farm operators better control over their assets while maximizing energy generation. As wind energy continues to expand its share of renewable power worldwide, well-designed yaw control systems are becoming increasingly critical.

Improved Wind Turbine Efficiency

One of the main benefits of a yaw control system is improved wind turbine efficiency. Yaw control keeps the turbine blades aligned perpendicular to the wind direction, which maximizes energy capture from the wind. When the turbine blades face directly into the wind, they can generate the most power. Yaw control systems use wind direction sensors and motors to continuously turn the nacelle and rotor to track changes in wind direction. This precise alignment ensures the blades optimally interact with the wind flow at all times (The influence of yaw control systems on wind turbine output). Keeping the rotor facing the wind can increase Annual Energy Production (AEP) by up to 4% compared to turbines without active yaw control (Enhancing wind turbine performance through advanced yaw control systems).

Prevents Excessive Loading

The yaw control system helps prevent excessive asymmetric loading on key turbine components like the rotor blades, gearbox, generator, and tower. By keeping the turbine oriented into the wind, the yaw system ensures wind loading is evenly distributed across the rotor plane and drivetrain. This significantly reduces fatigue and failure risk of critical parts. According to a research paper published by the Institute of Physics, the yaw system is the second most important mechanical component contributing to wind turbine downtime after the rotor blades themselves [1]. Yaw misalignment can rapidly accelerate uneven wearing of bearings, gears, shafts, and other drivetrain elements leading to costly unplanned maintenance and repairs. Effective yaw control that points the turbine into the wind is essential to evenly distribute aerodynamic and gravitational loads, preventing premature breakdown of key components.

Optimizes Power Output

yaw control optimizes power output by aligning turbines into the wind

Modern yaw control systems allow wind turbines to continually orient themselves into the wind as the direction changes. This maintains the optimal angle for power generation. According to a study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “this article presents a wind plant control strategy that optimizes the yaw settings of wind turbines for improved energy production of the whole wind plant” [1]. By keeping the turbine facing directly into the wind, the yaw control system maximizes energy capture and optimizes power output.

Reduces Structural Stresses

A yaw control system helps minimize the side forces placed on a wind turbine from oblique winds. When the turbine experiences winds at an angle rather than directly into the rotor, it creates asymmetric loading. This puts additional sideways force on the turbine structure.

By yawing the nacelle to face into the wind, the yaw system reduces the sideways forces. This lowers structural stresses on vital components like the tower, nacelle, blades, drivetrain, and more. Keeping loads aligned with the design load direction prevents fatigue and wear from recurring side forces.

Without a yaw system constantly keeping the turbine oriented properly, the accumulated sideways stresses could lead to premature failures or the need for more reinforced, expensive turbine structures. So by reducing structural stresses, a yaw control system contributes to lower long-term maintenance costs and a longer operational lifetime.

Improves Grid Integration

Wind turbines equipped with yaw control systems are able to more precisely control the power delivered to the grid. Yaw control enables each turbine to quickly respond to signals from grid operators and adjust power output as needed. This real-time adjustment capability helps maintain stability of the electrical grid.

By orienting turbines into the wind at optimal angles, yaw control maximizes power generation. This steady and predictable power generation from each turbine facilitates integration of wind energy into the grid. Yaw control systems provide the responsiveness and flexibility required for wind farms to participate in grid regulation and ancillary services markets.

According to research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “Yaw-augmented control enables wind plants to provide more consistent power output profiles and ancillary grid services such as regulation and following” (NREL). With yaw control, wind turbines can adjust quickly to grid demands and enhance their ability to provide essential grid support.

Lowers Maintenance Costs

Well-designed yaw control systems can substantially reduce maintenance costs for wind turbines. By minimizing yaw error, a yaw control system reduces wear and tear on key components like the rotor blades, drivetrain, and tower.

The constant forces from wind misalignment can place excessive stress on blades, bearings, gearboxes, and other parts. Effective yaw control significantly reduces these loads. This enables longer service intervals before components need replacement or repair.

According to a study published in Renewable Energy (A comprehensive review on wind turbine power curve modeling techniques), active yaw systems can reduce blade and tower fatigue loads by over 25%. This directly translates into lower maintenance expenses and longer part lifetimes.

As wind turbines increase in size and power capacity, the potential cost savings from optimized yaw control rise exponentially. With multi-megawatt turbines now widespread, keeping these massive machines properly aligned with the wind is an essential part of cost-effective operation and maintenance.

Enhances Safety

According to energy5.com, yaw control systems enhance the safety of wind turbine operations in several ways1. By keeping the turbine oriented into the wind, the yaw system helps prevent damage in high wind conditions. The turbine can yaw to feather its blades and reduce loading. This minimizes the risk of structural failures that could be catastrophic. Additionally, optimal yaw alignment reduces flutter, vibration, and other stresses on components. With decreased loading, there is less likelihood of gearbox, generator, blade, or tower failures. Overall, by managing turbine orientation, yaw control provides critical protections that enhance safety.

Increases Energy Production

Yaw control systems enable wind turbines to follow the wind direction and maximize energy capture across changing wind conditions. By keeping the turbine optimally aligned with the wind, yaw control boosts the wind turbine’s capacity factor, or the ratio of its actual power output over time compared to its potential output if it operated at full capacity continuously.

According to Enhancing Wind Turbine Performance through Advanced Yaw Control Systems, advanced yaw systems can increase a turbine’s energy capture by 2-4% compared to turbines without yaw control. This translates into significant gains in annual energy production and revenue.

Yaw control is especially critical for maximizing energy production in areas with highly variable wind directions. By keeping the turbine oriented properly, yaw control ensures optimal energy capture is maintained across changing wind conditions.


In summary, a yaw control system provides several key advantages for wind turbines. By keeping the turbine facing into the wind, yaw control improves efficiency, optimizes power output, reduces structural stresses, and enhances grid integration. Maintenance costs are lowered as wear and tear is reduced on turbine components. Safety is also improved by minimizing extreme loading in high winds.

Overall, an effective yaw control system plays a crucial role in enabling wind turbines to perform optimally. By keeping the turbine properly aligned with wind direction at all times, yaw control maximizes energy production. The advantages spans across efficiency, component lifetime, power quality, and safety. With the growth in size of modern wind turbines, an advanced and responsive yaw system is an indispensable component.

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